By Our Reporter
As farmers count losses over low maize prices that have hit a record Shs150 per kg, the Information Technology (IT) innovators are poised to play a big role in improving agricultural sector.
Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has partnered with Uganda Technology and Management University (UTAMU) to equip budding agriculturists with information technology ideas to deal with the rising problems in agriculture under the theme: Innovation Space in Agriculture Using ICTs.
Speaking to Business Focus on Monday at UTAMU Campus, Prof. Jude T. Lubega, the Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University said that interested students within the computing field were invited to apply and acquire a one week training fully sponsored by UCC.
“We advertised this program a few months ago and students within the computing field from 1st year to 3rd year were invited to apply. Over
100 students applied from within Uganda and outside, but we needed 36 who are undergoing the training from the notable IT gurus,” Prof. Lubega said.
He added that they received student from all the universities in Uganda including some from Somalia and called for more stakeholders to come on board.
“If supported, one month is enough to do wonders. We’re going to continue helping the youths to think innovative and we will create groups to continue interacting with the experts,” he said.
University students from universities around Uganda including Makerere
University, Kyambogo University, Makerere University Business School,
Busitema University and International University of East Africa among others are taking part in the competition.
According to Dr. Drake Patrick Mirembe, an expert in ICT Food and Seed Systems and running about 5 projects in Agriculture for 10 years, Uganda has the capacity to produce rice that can feed 20 countries in Africa.
He said that Uganda lacks ICT innovations to transform agriculture from the subsistence scale to a commercial scale.
“Uganda is the number one producer of rice in Africa and it is a country which adds one million people every year. There is a problem of limited access to quality input, market, poor service of extension services with weak production records. There is lack of innovation in that space,” he challenged the participants.
Mirembe told trainees to tap into the above gaps and create valuable apps because at least in different communities one out of 10 has a smart phone.
Another facilitator Michael Niyitegeka while speaking on Creative Thinking/Idea Generation told innovators to always look at the farmers that require technology support when it comes to developing solutions for them.
The #UTAMUHacks #Hackathon will see innovators develop solutions in
Management of Pests and diseases, financial services, quality information and access to markets.
All winners will be awarded at the UTAMU’s annual International
Conference on Technology And Management (ICTM) slated for 6th August, 2018 at Silver Springs Hotel.